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Literary Text and Language Learning Behaviour of ESL Learners

Shaukat Ali, Saddam Hussain, Iftikhar Ali

Abstract: This study exploits John Milton's poems "On His Blindness, and "Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint" for teaching speaking skills to ESL learners. The study utilized a quasi-experimental design consisting of a treatment group (TG) and a comparison group (CG). CG was taught through conventional language text whereas TG was treated with the aforementioned poems. The main focus of the study was to observe the language learning behavior of the students of both TG and CG during language learning activities. The study therefore employed observation field notes beside the speaking type pretest and posttest as tools of data collection. The thematic analysis of the observation field notes indicated that the students of TG were confident, motivated, involved in, and excited about the language learning activities. On the contrary, the students of the CG were found to be hesitant, passive, and demotivated during the language learning venture. Consequently, the students of TG performed significantly better than that of CG on the posttest. The study recommends that poetry should be utilized for teaching the English language in general and speaking skills in particular.
Keywords: language learning / ESL / poems / treatment / behavior / learners / notes / posttest

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